Duke basketball: Reporter blocks Paolo Banchero from unanimous award

Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images) /

Former Duke basketball star Paolo Banchero was robbed from winning an unanimous award. 

It is very clear that former Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero is the NBA Rookie of the Year.

There shouldn’t be any questions. It should be unanimous.

However, he will not be the unanimous winner of the award because Andy Larsen, the Utah Jazz and NBA beat writer for The Salt Lake Tribune, voted for the Jazz’s own Walker Kessler.

It seems like  he is trying to be the first in line for an exclusive interview or story from the former North Carolina Tar Heel and Auburn Tiger either this summer or next season.

The numbers between Banchero and Kessler do not really compare.

Paolo Banchero started each of the 72 games he played for the Orlando Magic this season and averaged 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game this season while shooting 42.7-percent from the field.

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Banchero finished his rookie campaign with 40 games of scoring at least 20 points, matching the amount that LeBron James had during his inaugural season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The former Blue Devil also topped all rookies in points, 20 point games, 30 point games, games with at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and games with at least 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

The conversation should have ended a while ago.

Duke basketball product stands along among NBA rookies

Walker Kessler, on the other hand, did have an impressive rookie season after starting 40 of 74 games for the Jazz but averaged just 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game on 72.0-percent shooting.

Larsen’s reason for voting for the player he covers to win the Rookie of the Year Award was based on advanced statistics and analytics instead of watching actual basketball games.

Perhaps the most egregious part of Larsen’s voting and reasoning is that he also placed Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Jalen Williams ahead of Banchero on his ballot.

Williams, who statistically had a better season than Kessler, posted 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game on 52.1-percent shooting and while the award is based only on the regular season, the Thunder neophyte still has his team in contention for a playoff berth.

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Voting is flawed for NBA Awards since various amounts of media members cast ballots as to who should win, which also effects players in future contract negotiations, but this is a clear example of a local reporter trying to make nice with a potential star of the organization he covers.

Coaches and players should vote on awards, not fans or media members.

Paolo Banchero will still be the Rookie of the Year, unanimous or not.

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